Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)
By Jakob van Vlijmen
M Chiro, DC
Most of us have been troubled by a tingling sensation in our hands when we wake up, usually it’s caused by lying awkwardly and can be easily fixed by shaking the hand. However when you have carpal tunnel, you'll be plagued by the tingling much more frequently during all sort of activities. The tingling sensation can even be accompanied with loss of strength in the hands making it tremendously difficult to hold objects.
De Carpal Tunnel is situated on the inside of the wrist where the hand transitions into the forearm. The tunnel is made up of 8 carpal bones in a U shape. On top of which the fascial band is transversely strung across. Through this tunnel multiple arteries, tendons and a single nerve run into the hand.
In CTS this nerve has become compressed because the space in the tunnel has diminished. Due to this compression the blood supply to the nerve is compromised impairing normal function. There are many different things that can cause the space to be diminished such as the following:
Ø Overuse of the wrist
Ø Broken carpal bones
Ø Hormonal changes such as pregnancy or menopause
Ø Fluid retention
Ø Rheumatoid Arthritis
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms are comparable to those of a ''sleeping foot'' which is also caused by a compressed nerve. The most common symptoms are:
Ø Pain, tingling or a numbness in the hand
Ø Being woken at night by these tingling sensations, which are then relieved by shaking the hand
Ø Loss of strength in the hand
Ø Morning stiffness and clumsiness of the hands
Ø Use of the hands usually increases the symptoms
Ø Pain in the neck, shoulder, elbows, forearm or wrist.
The nerve that eventually travels through the carpal tunnel starts off in the neck and runs through the shoulder, upper arm, elbow, and fore arm in to the hand. It is possible for the nerve to be compressed at multiple levels. Because of a possible compression higher up in the body, the nerve function is diminished after which becomes more susceptible to injury further down the track. So a relatively small compression at the Carpal Tunnel might very quickly give the fore mentioned symptoms.
The Chiropractor will therefore need to assess the whole length of the nerve to make sure it is not compromised at any other levels. This way the root of the problem will be tackled and recovery can be swift and complete.
Bad posture can lead to a compressed nerve. Together with the chiropractor you can address possible postural faults and diminish the change of CTS.